The Operating System is the core of your VPS for hosting. It is the program that manages system memory, storage, and higher-level software for your vps hosting. The four Operating Systems we will discuss here are based on GNU/Linux. The Operating System is mostly known just as Linux. There are hundreds of distributions of GNU/Linux but in this article we will focus on the best four for server purposes. GNU/Linux is derived from UNIX and follows the POSIX operating system standards. Most GNU/Linux distributions are free of cost unless you sign up for a enterprise support plan with the developers. This article goes over a general description and some facts about these operating systems and my opinion on them from personal experience. You should try them all and see what fits your software and daily flow the best. This article will go over 2 Deb based and 2 Rpm based distributions.
Ubuntu is a multi-purpose operating system based on the next generation of Debian GNU/Linux. Ubuntu is owned and developed mostly by Canonical. Its popularity in the desktop and server world has made it one of the most widely used GNU/Linux distributions in the computing world. Another major plus of Ubuntu is the large community of users and developers that can support you. Many of your issues will already be solved or get solved very quickly when you share your problem and you are running Ubuntu. Also Canonical offers very competitive pricing for support and offers a kernel live-patching service for free for up to four machines if you sign up for a free Ubuntu One account. Ubuntu uses Debian’s apt-get or “apt” package manager. It’s very user-friendly and fast. Another utility Tasksel is also included to help with quickly setting up a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack. My opinion on Ubuntu is that it is one of the best operating systems for VPS for hosting servers. Ubuntu is designed for the cloud which makes it the perfect OS and because of the massive community help is not hard to find. The latest version of Ubuntu is 20.04 LTS which means it will be supported for 5 years. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is also still around and is still very popular in the server world since it is supported until April of 2023. On Ubuntu, upgrading to the latest version isn’t very hard and won’t require you to re-install the whole OS! Ubuntu LTS has a lifespan of five years and Non-LTS Ubuntu versions have a lifespan of six months.
Do you need a rock-hard stable, consistent, replicable, enterprise grade, operating system with lots of community support? Well CentOS is the operating system for you! CentOS uses the rpm/yum/dnf package management system and is made from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux so you know you are getting high-quality software. CentOS is used mostly to host KVM Virtual machines and other enterprise grade software. CentOS is very bare-bones when you install it so it requires some time and patients to set up for your needs. The best part about CentOS is that it is designed for server and a minimal cloud-image install can take up less than 500 Mb of disk and use less than 100 Mb of RAM! CentOS running only a LAMP Stack running something like WordPress will work fine on even a 1GB VPS hosting. CentOS also makes a good platform to run a VPN server like SoftEther. The CentOS Team also released a new OS called CentOS Stream that has newer packages and is right ahead of the RHEL versions. This allows developers to get a head start with the latest versions of libraries and software. My opinion on CentOS is that it is best on bare metal servers and good on VPS servers that cannot be restarted for very long periods of time. If you want to start developing for the current generation of Enterprise Linux or want to get your RHCSA Certification this is a good place to start. CentOS versions (excluding stream) have a lifespan of around ten years
Debian GNU/Linux or just “Debain” is known as the “Universal Operating System”. It runs on just about every type of computer hardware known to man and has over 59,000 packages. Debian is the true GNU/Linux platform and is the most derived operating system and is the base of many famous distributions like Ubuntu. Debian is fully free software meaning that you can do what you want with it without restriction. Debian uses the apt-get package manager and is one of if not the most stable distribution out there. If you are used to Ubuntu then Debian won’t be difficult for you at all as long as you do some extra research. Like CentOS, The latest version of Debian can run on less than 100 MB of ram and 500MB of disk space making it the ideal operating system for simple web-servers and VPN servers on a low-cost VPS hosting. In my opinion Debian is the best choice for server operating systems if you want a easy to use, lightweight, experience. Debian versions has a lifespan of around five years
Fedora, the Father of Linux aka Linus Torvalds’ distribution of choice. Like CentOS, it is a Red Hat sponsored project that uses the rpm/yum/dnf package manager. It is a rolling-release distribution so you always have the latest and greatest versions of software but that comes with a huge drawback, and that is the lack of stability and lots of updates and reboots. You will need to update the system at least once every month or two. Fedora has the most features ready out of the box such as the latest version of Cockpit, the 389-Directory Server and more. Fedora more or less is designed for developers or users on vps hosting who want the newest software. In my opinion, Fedora is the true pioneer for the next generation of server software but is not a good choice for production sites due to the instability, lack of support for the latest versions, and short lifespan. Fedora is a lot like Ubuntu without the LTS version. If you want to start developing for the next generation of Enterprise Linux or want to get your RHCSA Certification this is the best place to start.
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